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Capitol Events

Capitol Events

Capitol Events features news from the Richmond State Capitol during the General Assembly Session – examining the issues of the day, tracking important legislation, and shedding light on the political process.

Capitol Events: January 30, 2015

The Senate has passed a bill that would require the General Assembly to approve adoption of any elements of federal common core standards.

Virginia’s Standards of Learning exceed Common Core requirements, and is exempt from the current federal standards.

Critics of the bill have called it unnecessary. The bill was approved on a party line vote of 21 to 17.

Craig Carper reports.

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Capitol Events: January 29, 2015

The house and senate money committees are preparing their midpoint adjustments to the two-year budget.

Chairman of House Appropriations Chris Jones says the House budget will eliminate new fees proposed by Governor McAuliffe but will not make cuts to K through 12 or higher education.

The budget will also protect Virginia’s coal tax credit, and give pay raises to some state employees such as police officers and teachers.

Craig Carper reports.

Capitol Events: January 28, 2015

A joint resolution that would ask congress to call a convention of the states to propose new amendments to the U.S. Constitution has passed both the House and Senate Rules Committee.

Supporters of the convention held a rally at the Capitol this week.

The proposal has picked up high profile support from conservative lawmakers such as Speaker of the House Bill Howell, who says the convention would be the only way to bring more sovereignty to the states.

Craig Carper reports.

Capitol Events: January 27, 2015

Several lawmakers have submitted budget amendments for a 5% increase in salary for state corrections officers. These officers are paid disproportionately less than other law enforcement officers in federal corrections facilities and sheriff’s deputies in local jails. A recent study ranked Virginia as the 48th lowest for corrections officer compensation.

Another budget amendment from Delegate Kay Kory would authorize $500,000 to study corrections officer’s salary and benefits and make recommendations. She says she will continue to push the issue until it passes.

Capitol Events: January 26, 2015

Sixty children have died in Virginia daycares over the past decade, 40 of those were in unlicensed facilities.

Over 20 bills have been introduced this session to increase regulation for child-care providers.

Virginia does not require daycare providers be licensed unless they provide care for 6 or more children. Several bills would lower that threshold to 3 or 1.

Another bill would require fingerprint background checks for those who provide childcare.

Capitol Events: January 23, 2015

A Senate bill that would ban the practice of conversion therapy for minors by licensed therapists has been killed. The practice aims to change sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual.

At a Senate committee hearing this week, lawmakers heard from several individuals who have undergone the controversial therapy, but who hold different opinions on it’s effectiveness.

A House version of the bill remains alive but is not expected.

Craig Carper reports.

Capitol Events: January 22, 2015

Two bills in the House and Senate would allow the use of marijuana extracts to treat certain forms of epilepsy.

Lawmakers in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee heard testimony Thursday (1/22/15) from families affected by the disease.

Language in the Senate bill is being amended to apply regulations to those manufacture and distribute of the drug, which is not available in the Commonwealth.

Capitol Events: January 21, 2015

The General Assembly will consider legislation this year to streamline the state code to make cases of human trafficking easier to prosecute.

Virginia has been strengthening laws related to human trafficking for several years now. The Commonwealth has gone from having some of the weakest laws in the country to some of the strongest. Though these changes are spread throughout different sections of the state code and can be difficult to navigate.

Capitol Events: January 20, 2015

Attorney General Mark Herring announced legislation aimed at combating heroin and prescription drug abuse.

Herring’s office has been working on a strategy of prevention and education, prosecution of dealers and professional accountability for prescribers. Now lawmakers in both parties are carrying bills to attack the problem head on.


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